Vendor Previews DC-DC Converter with Digital Control

Oct. 5, 2005
Emerson Network Power has announced the preview release of a device which will enable designers to prepare and evaluate products for use with the new digital architecture and the new open-source PMBus communication protocol.

Emerson Network Power, a business of Emerson, has announced the preview release of a device from Astec Power that aids in the creation of digital power designs. The first offering from Emerson’s Astec Digital Power Initiative, the Astec DTX digital dc converter will enable designers to prepare and evaluate products for use with the new digital architecture and the new open-source PMBus communication protocol as well as the industry-standard I²C bus. The control platform is designed to work in an integrated digital system environment and ultimately will include a spectrum of devices from front-ends to eighth bricks, bus converters and point-of-load regulators.

“Because this technology enables designers to digitally control such parameters as output voltage and startup sequencing via a PC with an easy-to-use graphical user interface, they’ll be able to make broad changes during prototyping without the need to physically change parts,” explains Bharat Shah, Astec Power’s vice president of sales and marketing for dc-dc business.

“Products developed with this architecture will give designers significantly enhanced flexibility that will enable rapid development,” says Shah. “In addition, the digital control allows for reduced parts count to increase reliability while minimizing space requirements. Unlike some early implementations of digital architecture that rely on proprietary communications, Astec’s Digital Power Initiative adheres to the PMBus standards-based protocols that will assure extensive support for these products.”

Adds Geof Potter, Astec vice president of dc-dc advanced technology, “It’s important to note our devices will be able to connect to virtually any I²C-based power control and monitoring systems, but the communication bus is not required for operation. These devices will operate in ‘standalone’ mode as well. Customers will be able to adapt these products to their individual needs on their own, using Astec’s support tools or with the assistance of Astec’s technical support department. Designers will even be able to choose from an array of pre- programmed modules that emulate existing industry-standard ‘bricks’—with or without a menu of additional features.”

The Astec DTX DC Converter takes the form of a low-profile, open-frame package with surface-mount termination. It accepts input from 36 V to 75 V, and offers output from 0.96 V to 1.44 V with output power up to 50 W. Featuring integrated digital control with bidirectional PMBus communication, the unit also includes self-diagnostics, efficiency optimization and output impedance control, as well as dynamic feedback loop compensation and configuration. Designers can program limits and modes relating to undervoltage, overvoltage, overcurrent and overtemperature.

According to Potter, Astec has begun demonstrating DTX converters and will supply a limited quantity of the devices to early adopters starting in November. Pricing for prototype quantities will start at $55.


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